Bruce Schlenke ’69: Neighborhood Journey | Highlander Devotional

July 29, 2019

A Limited View?

I saw a man of older age taking a “walk” with his wife in our neighborhood. He took this journey in a motorized wheelchair. I’d not remembered ever seeing him before. Perhaps they moved in recently, or maybe he was newly recovered from a debilitating accident and therapy. My natural first thought was to feel sorry for him: confined, dependent, limited by his malady.

The Scenery Expands

But then I heard the man talking to his wife and their pet dog. He was describing various flowers growing in my neighbor’s garden, the two cute little poodles peering out the bedroom window, and the creative shadow patterns the sun was casting in the front yard. I never make note of those things next door. I wouldn’t bother to do so; the world is too busy and consuming.

I suspect this couple’s riding/walking tour of the neighborhood took longer than my occasional quick walk around the block. Not as much because of the man’s restraints, but because of his heightened ability to observe and appreciate. I was reminded of the statement I had heard often but not appropriated into my life very much: “It’s not the destination as much as the journey that matters.”

Along the Way…

As much as I have enjoyed activity and action and work toward future goals, I’ve begun to realize more the “scenery” along the road – heretofore unnoticed beauties of God’s everyday world, the nuances of God’s natural design. There is so much to be enjoyed “along the way.”

King David sings this note of appreciation to God in the 16th Psalm: “You show me the path of life; in Your presence, there is fullness of joy, in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Life is lived on the road with the Lord as our companion and guide. The destination is only the spot from which another road begins.

Enjoy the Journey

In the Apostle Paul’s later, imprisoned years, he speaks out of God’s gift of contentment in his letter to the Philippians Church: “Finally brethren, whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely or gracious; if there be any excellence or anything worthy of praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) Definitely there exists in life a much wider capacity to appreciate God’s ways.

Social beverage peddlers have said, “Life is short, so grab all the gusto.” I disagree. Life is long; enjoy the journey. For with God, it is full and beautiful.

Bruce Schlenke is a member of the Class of ’69. He served as the pastor of Wexford Community Presbyterian Church from 2003 to 2014.

Highlander Devotionals are contributed by members of the broader Houghton community, including our worldwide alumni family. These reflections are a testament to the continued, transforming work of Jesus Christ in the lives of alumni and others who have called Houghton “home.”